Robot performs nondestructive inspection on a Boeing 787 composite forward fuselage at Spirit AeroSystems’ Wichita, KS, manufacturing facility.
Automation in Aerospace
Photo courtesy Spirit AeroSystems
Aerospace Automation Picks Up the Pace
Robotic drilling, fastening systems gain ground in aerospace/defense as metrology technologies boost robot accuracy
Patrick Waurzyniak Senior Editor
ith thousands of fastener locations that need to be drilled and filled to complete a plane, drilling and fastening remain the largest areas of opportunity for automated robotics applications in aerospace. New de-
velopments are also making robots more attractive than ever in the aerospace and defense space—especially improved rigidity and accuracy in the robots themselves. There are other benefits, too. Flexible, agile robotic auto- mation also offer substantial cost advantages over huge, fixed “monument” systems that have been used for decades to perform the thousands of drilling and fastening operations on a large airframe structure. Robots are also viewed by some as a way to speed production to alleviate order backlogs.